280 Tasting Notes

drank Shanti by The Simple Leaf
280 tasting notes

Thanks to LiberTeas for the sample of this.

I’ve never had a green tea from India, so it was fun to try one. This isn’t one I would seek after, but it was pleasant enough.

The leaves looked like I would think of as a small-leaf green phoenix oolong (if there was such a thing). They smelled like Gunpowder green tea, somewhat smokey and pan fried.

The flavor was like dragonwell/long jing, in that it was something like chestnuts, stir fry, but not as good. However, it had a very strong note of honey at the top of the mouth that was quite tasty and interesting. Strange too, to feel like it was a savory flavor on the one hand, and then a sweet one on the other (aftertaste).
As I said, it’s a pleasant cup.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I recently won a Valentine’s Day sampler from Life in Teacup, and as my free samples, I chose these two Pu-erhs from the Guan Zi Zai factory.
I’ve never had Pu-erh before. After reading enough tasting notes from Steepster users the_skua and cultureflip, my interest was finally perked. Also, I have to point out this article: http://hojotea.com/article_e/puerh_e.htm
After reading it, my impressions of Pu-erh were very much changed and I think it was this in the first place that helped me to even to start paying attention to what people said here on Steepster about various Pu-erh they enjoyed.
It’s a long article, but I recommend it.

Enough rambling… anyway, the first steep or two was smokey tasting and also earthy. But not unpleasantly so; I thought it was kind of calming and smooth.

At about steep four or five, my wife and I both noticed it that it was getting flowery as well (it may have been like this, but this is when we noticed it, at least), and the smokey faded to become more like the smell of tobacco. The earthiness was also less present.

I think it’s pretty yummy, and really fun to have a first-time experience not be a gross one, which seems to be a potentiality with Pu-erh in particular.

I have to really thank Ginkgo again! She is the reason I found my favorite black tea (Yunnan Gold!) and now she’s selling a tasty Pu-erh. Thumbs up to Life in Teacup!

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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The other day, the dry leaf in the warmed kyusu smelled delicious, just like peaches! Unfortunately, the taste did not deliver in the same way.

It is a good tea, but the best way I can describe it is a ‘lack of carry.’ The initial flavor is good, but it doesn’t have a lasting aftertaste. It seems like a decent asamushi sencha from a good region (I think near Hon yama), but I find it hard to believe that it is a “very rare” tea as SpecialTeas describes.

It could simply be my brewing technique/parameters, so I will have to keep playing with them to see if I can draw this one out.

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drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
280 tasting notes

Thanks again to LiberTeas for sharing such a nice sample!
I tried this again with cold brew (46F water for 12 minutes) and with a regular brew (160F for 1.5 minutes) and each one of those pots I did a minimum of 3 steepings…
This is definitely a unique, enjoyable tea.
The cold brew wasn’t actually as strong as I hoped, but I may have used too much water for the leaf. The hot/regular brew was very good; with strong flavors: earthy, somewhat fruit, and even a mouth-filling mintyness!

Interestingly, the wet leaf smells very similar to the brewed leaf of gyokuro!

I’m not sure I’m sold to buy 100g, yet, it’s just down on the list somewhere… (there’s just too much to try!) :-)
However, I can see that this tea is much more suited to a typical American palate (as they say on the Mellow Monk website) and isn’t grassy or bitter at all, so it could be at the top of the list for some. Either way, I give it a thumbs up!

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Geoffrey Norman

Probably still my favorite sencha to date.

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I’ve been looking forward to trying this one; I bought it when it was 50% off, when SpecialTeas was finally going out of business. I’ve also been dreading trying this one, afraid that it would be so good, I would be sad that it would likely never be available again.

So far though, I’ve found it to be a happy medium. It isn’t quite as good as I expected from the description (though still awesome), but it isn’t so good that no other tea will substitute once it’s gone.

I tried their brewing parameters first a couple of days ago. 140 for 1.5 minutes brought a good infusion, but it seemed a little on the weak side. The next day, I tried 160 for 1.5 minutes, and while that was good, it tasted almost exactly like Sencha Zuiko from Den’s tea. I’m no expert taster by any means, so I’m sure someone could tell the differences, but it was very close. The main difference I felt (yesterday) was that it didn’t have a lot of carry. The flavors were a good mix of sweet, bitter, and light veggies, but it seemed to lack a mouth-filling aftertaste.

Today, however, since they seem to suggest brewing it like a gyokuro (my guess is for the typical American palate, to avoid any bitterness), I tried 140 for 2.5 minutes (a full minute longer than their parameters). It was quite delicious! Pleasingly sweet, and interestingly—even though this is an asamushi (light steamed) sencha—it had a very deep, umami flavor, as if it was a fukamushi! It had an almost thick texture. I didn’t taste their description of fruity/citrus, and unfortunately, it still didn’t have much in terms of aftertaste.

I enjoyed the first two infusions a lot, but the third one wasn’t very remarkable. The last took on a character that seems to be very common toward the end of a pot of sencha, it was sweet, thin, and almost fruity.

I am giving this an initial rating, but may adjust it some as I find better ways to brew it.

140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Superior Pouchong by Drink T
280 tasting notes

Thanks to LiberTeas for the sample!!

I don’t remember a lot about this, since I finished up the sample a few days ago, but it was VERY buttery/thick and very tasty. :-)

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I have had this a number of times now, and have been holding off rating it to get as good an idea as possible. Each time, it felt too weak, so last night, I used boiling water for 15 minutes! That did the trick.

First of all, I will say I think it is a delicious tea and very good for a honeybush/rooibos blend (yes, I know it is actually honeybush, but I am putting them in the same overall category because I enjoy both).

However, I don’t know if it was my particular batch, but I didn’t taste the pie aspect of this tea at all. I know that is a lot to hope for, but after hearing so much about 52teas, I really had my hopes up.

I added a little vanilla icrecream to my cup, and it was amazing!! However, it still didn’t taste like “strawberry pie”. The strawberry was very much there, as well as a little sweetness, etc. (even without the icrecream), but not bakey.

Nevertheless, though it didn’t meet my expectations, I still I look forward to trying some of their other blends when cupboard space frees up! Or, if Frank blends something I just can’t resist, which has almost happened, but not quite. . .

Boiling 8 min or more

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drank Kuradashi Sencha by Den's Tea
280 tasting notes

I had this again yesterday, and I enjoyed it so much!
I used boiling water to pre-heat the kyusu (but only 150 for 1 min 45 seconds for the brew). Anyway, before I poured the water over the leaves, I smelled them, as they had been sitting in the warm pot for a few moments.

I was knocked back by an aroma as if I walked into a bakery, or just pulled fresh muffins out of the oven! How can a green tea smell bakey? Well it did, and deliciously so.

150 °F / 65 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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drank Organic Houjicha by Den's Tea
280 tasting notes

This is delicious! Got it from a local cafe.
It has a creamy note, in addition to the sweet roasted flavors of a normal houjicha.
I would put it at just slightly better than Den’s regular “Houjicha Gold” , however, since I got this from a cafe, I don’t get to try multiple infusions or smell the loose leaf and get a real feeling for the tea, so I’m going to rate it the same.

oOTeaOo sent me a teabag version of this same stuff, and that, too was excellent.

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drank Mecha by Den's Tea
280 tasting notes

Yesterday, I had a pot of this, and I think I figured out the ideal steeping parameters (for me, at least). My thought was, well, with a fukamushi cha, you have to do it short because of how small the pieces of leaves are, so they brew much more quickly. What if I tried this tea like that?

So I did both the temp and time less than what is suggested on the package:
165 or 170 degrees for 45 seconds

All three steepings were creamy, slightly sweet, and slightly vegetal (with slightly progressive weakness, but not a lot). I was quite disappointed I had to quit after that!

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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Tea: Japanese greens
Dessert: Creme Brulee
Books: Heaven – Randy Alcorn
Anything by J.R.R. Tolkien
Movie: Field of Dreams
Person: Jesus Christ

But who am I to give you recommendations?
You’ll have to see for yourself!

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